We have now written five books attempting to use specific author craft. Most of the craft has been structure although we have touched upon word choice here and there. This week there were two half days due to conferences so we did not feature a big book. This seems to be a good time for me to reflect…
- Each week my students are anxious to find out what big book we will read. I actually had someone begging for a dinosaur big book yesterday but when I showed the class what book I had chosen they wanted to hear it immediately. Their interest is peaked.
- The big books are being read and reread during literacy work stations. Students partner at the easel. I can hear them as they read paying attention to dialogue, punctuation marks, and reading labels and speech bubbles.
- The books written by our class are displayed in our classroom library. Every day students are reading those books to themselves or to a friend. They seem delighted that their work is featured in our library.
- The big question for me as I planned this project was; Would my students transfer what they were learning in reading to their writing in writer’s workshop? Would some students use the author craft to help structure their stories. Would the students imitate illustrations, speech bubbles, labels, repeating lines, repeating words, etc?
- I assumed students who were the most literate might give some of the craft a try. I wondered about struggling students. Students across all ability levels have tried to write stories using Cindy Ward’s structure (On Monday…On Tuesday…On Wednesday). Children across all ability levels have used Lois Ehlert’s labeling when writing their texts. Children across all ability levels have tried writing a fictional story with information like Ruth Kraus. I have not seen the seesaw structure appear yet but they are writing so much I have not seen everything either.
Right now, at this point in time, this project has paid big dividends for the children in my class. They are becoming readers who write and writers who read. During regular story time, they are stopping me and commenting on what the author is doing in the text. They are making many text to text connections. Last week I read several versions of In a Dark, Dark Wood. While conferencing with parents, I pulled out each child’s writing to share. I found four new versions of In a Dark, Dark, Wood and it was not even a featured big book! I struggled with my capstone project for almost two years trying to find something that would be worth the time and effort. I feel like I struck gold.